A recent survey by DataHaven found that if there was a COVID-19 vaccine available today, 20% of Connecticut residents say they wouldn’t take it, while 17% said they’re not sure.
“I’ve got to do everything I can to give people confidence that we would never be asking you to a. First get tested and then try a vaccine until we’re absolutely certain it’s safe -- it’s safe for you, it’s safe for your family and it’s safe for your community,” Gov. Ned Lamont said.
Lamont wants to make sure Connecticut residents have access to testing and a vaccine when it's available but it might take a while for that to happen.
The survey also found that while 20% were unlikely to get a vaccine, 63% of residents were willing to take it.
That’s similar to a survey Vaccinate Your Family did earlier this year.
“We specifically asked the question about COVID and said when a COVID vaccine is introduced would you want your children to get the vaccine and 68% of people here in Connecticut would want their children to get the vaccine,” Amy Pisani, executive director of Vaccinate Your Family said.
Pisani said her organization is also waiting on the safety data for any COVID vaccine.
“I would just say watch and wait. Science will come through and we’ll know about the vaccines when the time comes. I think it’s a little early to ask people right now,” Pisani said.
Pisani said once the vaccine is available, not everyone will have access to it right away. She said it looks like health care workers and essential workers will be given priority.
University of New Haven Assistant Professor Karl Minges said vaccine hesitancy is nothing new.
“It’s interesting that the DataHaven findings had indicated that 60 some percent would be interested in taking the COVID vaccine. That’s higher than the flu vaccine, which is very reassuring,” Minges said.
Only about 50% of the U.S. population gets the flu vaccine every year.
Paulo Verardi, an associate professor of virology and vaccine expert at UConn, said COVID-19 is a more complicated virus than another infectious disease- because even when people are getting it they seem to be losing the antibodies quicker.
“Natural infection may not provide long-term herd immunity. It’s a severe concern,” Verardi said.
It’s unlikely that herd immunity would have to reach 95% like it does with the measles to protect the public health. Verardi said it could be closer to 60%.